In a desperate bid to salvage their grip over the state, the Manipur government has given final touches to have the United Naga Council (UNC) declared an unlawful organisation. Congress spokesperson Khumkcham Joykishan recently said that the proposal to do so will be forwarded to the central government.
This comes in light of the of the tripartite meeting called by the Centre between the UNC and the state government, for the settlement of the economic blockade.
"The UNC had imposed the indefinite economic blockade along the highways from 1 November protesting against the government plan to create two districts. During the protest, it had ambushed and killed two personnel and wounded several others," Joykishan said.
"The Manipur government move is in the larger interest of the people who are floundering in this humanitarian crisis. In order to appease the National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak Muivah (NSCN-IM) the Centre has not intervened. Since the UNC is the frontal organisation of the NSCN(IM) the blockade could have been lifted as India is holding peace talks with this outfit", he added.
Taking a dig at the BJP party, Joykishan added, "The state unit BJP should urge the national leaders to do the needful in public interest. For 88 days people have been facing shortages of all sorts."
The UNC wields influence in the hilly areas of Manipur because of their close affinity with the Naga tribes. The UNC has consistently reaffirmed that their aim is to give Nagas the rights they deserve. They have delcared that they will intensify the blockade and the ban on the construction of national projects and picketing of government offices in Naga areas.
Congress trades barbs with BJP over the economic blockade
Attacking Assam's BJP minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who said that if Okram Ibobi Singh makes room, BJP could lift the blockade in two days, Joykishan said Sarma's announcement is unclear.
He wanted to know whether the BJP is planning a rollback of the creation of the seven districts once there is a President's rule interregnum. "The Congress ministry is ready to resign if it will benefit the people", Joykishan added.
He said, "As long as there is a Congress government, Manipur's territory shall be intact. Even though all Congressmen are bloodied, the integrity shall be protected. Sarma and other BJP leaders should come out with a clear cut statement since many things are incomprehensible on the basic stand of the BJP."
Congress and the BJP have been trading barbs and trying to gain political mileage out of the blockade with an eye towards the upcoming elections. Manipur accuses the Centre of not sending enough paramilitary forces with the result that the NH 2 that passes through Nagaland is still impassable.
Recently the Naga students in Nagaland had banned Manipur's vehicles in the state. The state government has been bringing about 300 trucks and oil tankers twice in a week. Taking undue advantage of the inadequate security cover, militants have been carrying out ambushes on the convoy.
UNC, Govt invited for tripartite talk
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), has invited the UNC and Ibobi's government to hold 'tripartite meeting' on the prevailing economic blockade on 3 February in New Delhi.
The UNC is not yet declared whether they will attend the meeting.
The Manipur government had not attended the earlier tripartite meeting called by the Centre. Hence, experts believe that the economic blockade will continue through the Manipur Assembly election to be held on 4 and 8 March.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Feb 04, 2017 11:17 AM